Recap of WWDC 2018

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Intro

It's hard to believe, but it's already WWDC time again. We at Applevis have watched--well, listened to--the keynote presentation, read the articles and tweets, and gathered the information. Now, it's time for me to tell you all about what we know, and suspect, about the next batch of software updates coming to your devices. Oh, and yes, I said "software" intentionally; Apple didn't announce any hardware updates at all this year.

iOS 12

This year's big new iOS update has few big features. It has a lot of smaller improvements, though, and some of the major features it does have are incredibly exciting. Others are a bit less, um, generally applicable, and may not be of much interest to many of you. In fact, let's knock those out first.

iMessages: Camera Effects and Animoji Updates

Apple is introducing camera effects for iMessages. For some time now, you have been able to tap the camera button to send a picture or video clip to the conversation. In iOS 12, you can choose from a range of filters, shapes, text, and other effects before sending the image.

On a related note, the Animoji feature that came out with the iPhone X last year has been expanded. There are four new characters (a koala, tiger, ghost, and t-rex) to play with. More impressively, Apple is letting users create their own characters. You simply choose a base, adjust its skin tone, eye color, and other attributes, then start styling it. You can choose hair styles, jewelry, glasses, and more. Finally, a new bit of face tracking has been added to the modeling of which animoji are capable: the tongue.

Augmented Reality

Apple announced a new app to showcase their AR efforts, called Measure. You simply drag a line on the screen along the length you want to measure, and you are told how long the line is in reality. It can also auto-detect objects and pop up measurements on its own. This sounds nice, but not especially useful. Its purpose, though, is to illustrate ARKit's major update: ARKit 2.0. This update brings much-improved object detection, including sensing and tracking 3d objects. It also lets developers support shared experiences, where up to four people can be in one augmented reality space. Each person sees the same scene, and any changes anyone else makes, but from their own perspective.

On a related note, Apple has designed a new file format, USDZ, to deal with AR objects and 3d animations. Not only can this format be used to provide rotation and zoom on images, but it lets apps access AR objects. For instance, the presenter designed a guitar, then used the new USDZ format with the finished instrument. iOS took the image and put it in an AR view so he could see how it would look on a wall or against his clothes.

I'm tentatively excited about this one. On the one hand, AR games tend to be entirely visual, since their main purpose is to play with virtual objects seen on the screen as though those objects were actually behind the camera, in reality. At the same time, Apple could use the automatic object detection, coupled with automatic photo descriptions and other machine learning, to do some interesting things for the visually impaired. If they don't, and their Measure app turns out to be useless, I'm still interested to see where third parties can take these new tools. Imagine Seeing AI telling you how far away something is, or where it is in space, for example. Time will tell, and I wouldn't count on anything cool happening in the next few weeks or months, but this could be the framework for a lot of great stuff down the line.

Photos

Searching photos will get a lot easier in iOS 12. You can already search by object, location, date/time, or name, but soon, those options will expand and be smarter. Rather than having to remember which restaurant was the location of some great shot, you can just search for "restaurant" and iOS will pick out images taken at restaurants. Similar category grouping is available for a wide, though unspecified, range of locations and activities. iOS will even try to predict what photos you might want, in a new "For You" tab inside Photos. It will show you pictures taken on "this day" in years past, or that feature places you are/were recently, and more.

If you want to share your photos, you can now do it much more easily. When you take pictures at a specific location, iOS groups them together, as usual. In the upcoming release, though, it will offer to share some of them with certain people. For example, if your wife is in some pictures, iOS might offer to send a group of pictures, all with her in them, right to her Apple ID.

Performance

Now, on to the fun stuff. First up, Apple says they have made huge increases in performance on all their supported devices, especially when the CPU is working hard. The way they explained it went something like this: computers generally ramp up CPU speed to handle more and more load, which saves power but delays the completion of the work. What iOS 12 will do is push the CPU to full speed right away, but then drop it back to normal just as quickly. This results in certain tasks, such as opening the camera or a share sheet, running much faster without impacting battery life. We will have to wait for the final release to see what improvement this has on everyday usage and whether the claim that battery life won't suffer is true.

In case you missed it, though, I want to highlight a phrase they used: "all supported devices". They are working hard to make iOS 12 run smoothly on older iPhones, with an iPhone 6 Plus being used as the example on stage. Rather than slow down older phones or iPads, Apple is aiming for this release to speed them up in some areas, and not affect them in the rest. Hopefully, this proves true in real-world use.

Extendable Siri

Siri is, at long last, getting extended. Apple is introducing what it calls Siri Shortcuts, which are phrases that can run actions. App developers can offer these actions in their apps, letting you enable them and assign them your own trigger phrase. You can also make your own, using a new app from Apple. This app seems similar to Workflow, in that you can chain things together and then kick them off with a single Siri command. It's a little like scenes, for all you HomeKit enthusiasts. Shortcuts will even appear on the lock screen when Siri thinks they might be useful. If you run a particular shortcut each morning, for instance, you might find it on your lock screen each morning. You can simply tap it to run it.

Some examples will show you why I'm so excited about this feature. The first example was the Tile service, which can make a physical plastic tile beep so you can locate a lost object. Rather than unlock your phone, open the Tile app, choose the tile, and start it beeping, you can assign a Siri shortcut to a particular tile. Then, if you lose the tile on your keychain, you can just say, "Hey Siri, where are my keys?" Siri recognizes the phrase as a shortcut, tells Tile to ping the tracker on your keys, and you're done.

Another example given on stage was "heading home". This sent a message to the presenter's housemate with an ETA, turned on the fan at home, presented a public transit route, and started a playlist, all with a single command. Plus, Siri provided speech feedback about each action it had taken.

Finally, according to Apple, this has accessibility implications. You could use a command, such as "help" or "get me", to send your location to one or more contacts with a pre-set message requesting that someone pick you up. Once it's supported, you might also be able to ask Siri, "what is this?" and it could open Seeing AI to the correct mode.

New Paint

Some of Apple's first-party apps have gotten new designs. We didn't get a lot of detail, so I'll just run through them quickly here.

  • Voice Memos has a new look, iCloud syncing, and a version for macOS
  • Stocks has a new look, better graphs, new stories about the companies you're looking at, and apps for iPad and Mac
  • News has a new look, and is available on macOS
  • iBooks is now called Apple Books and has a completely new design, both in the app and in its accompanying store
  • CarPlay supports third-party navigation apps

Digital Health

Next up we have some features for what I've heard called "digital health". The idea is that some people have a hard time not using their phones or iPads too often for their overall wellbeing. To help with this, Apple is doing a few things.

First, they have added two features to Do Not Disturb. You can now disable notifications, even from showing on your lock screen, after you go to bed. This way, checking the time won't tempt you to dive back into that game or respond to that email. You can also enable DND from Control Center, but 3d press to set when you want it to disable itself. If you want to enjoy a movie, for instance, you might set DND to turn off after 90 minutes.

Second, you can now see detailed usage reports. You can know how many times per hour you used your phone, how long you spent in each app, and plenty more information. To help you curb your usage, you can set app limits, such as limiting yourself to an hour of Facebook per day. As you near that limit, you get a notification. Reaching the limit will hide the app from you, though you can add an extension to your allowed time if you need to. If you have Family Sharing set up, you can get these reports on your children, and set app usage limits for them.

Third, you can 3d press notifications to get more options. You can change whether an app's notifications go to your lock screen, or appear at all, right from the notification itself.

Fourth and finally, Siri will suggest notifications you might want to hide. If you haven't used an app in a long time, you might get asked if you still want to be notified by that app. Saying you don't will do exactly what you'd expect.

Notifications

Speaking of notifications, Apple has updated the Notification Center. Rather than being individual, they are now grouped together. For instance, you might see a message conversation as a single item you can expand, rather than ten individual notifications. This has the benefit of being less cluttered, but it also lets you dismiss, hide, or otherwise deal with things all at once. Apple didn't give us a great deal on this, so I don't have much else to add just now.

Group FaceTime

Let's end things with another great feature: you can now make group calls with FaceTime! Sighted users will be happy to know that group video conversations, with up to 32 total participants, can be handled with no problem. Those who don't need video will be equally happy to hear that this works with audio calls as well. No mention was made of mixing the two in a single call.

You can do this in the FaceTime app, by simply adding multiple people. You can also take advantage of iMessages, which might be easier. For instance, say you have a group chat between you, Alice, and Bob. You can open that thread in Messages and call both Alice and Bob right from there. You can also see if Alice and Bob are already in a call, and add yourself to it, just like you can see and interact with their messages. Oh, and yes, this works on watchOS and macOS as well.

watchOS 5

Apple next announced watchOS 5, which sounds like an update I'll enjoy a lot. In recent years, watchOS has moved more and more into the communications and fitness spaces, and that's mostly--but not entirely--what this update focuses on.

New Fitness Fun

There are some new workout types to try: hiking, yoga, and a modified run. The first two are tuned to give better information, such as using elevation during hikes or paying closer attention to your heart rate during yoga. The new running workout is more about metrics: it now offers a rolling mile pace, steps per minute, and other details runners will find helpful. It is also better able to help if you are training, though I'm not sure how it does that.

What if you start a workout, but forget to tell your Watch about it? Right now, you're kind of stuck, with your only recourse being to get partial credit. In watchOS 5, Apple Watch can detect when you might be working out and ask you to start one by choosing the type. Plus, you'll get credit for what you did even before starting it on the Watch. Ending is similar, with watchOS detecting when you might be stopping and prompting you to end the workout. As someone who sometimes forgets to tell my Watch I'm going for an outdoor walk, I'm very excited about this.

As you're doing your workouts, why not challenge someone to a workout-off? If you are already sharing activity progress with someone, you can challenge them to a seven-day contest: The person to burn the most calories during the course of the week will win the contest, earning a special badge. You can check on each other's progress during the course of the competition, and even send messages to each other from within the Activity app, similar to what you can do now if a friend fills their rings.

Walkie-Talkie

It's not all exercise, though. watchOS 5 will give you a new way to communicate in the form of a walkie-talkie. With this, you ask a contact for permission to chat with them via this new method. You only have to ask once. After that, you just hold an on-screen button on your Watch, talk, and release. The other person will get a beep and a vibration, then your audio will play. They can respond in the same way. This works on bluetooth, wifi, and cellular, Apple says, and might be better than dictation for many users. I can certainly think of times I would find this helpful, especially as it can work without a network connection provided the Apple Watches are within bluetooth range. That said, I hope there's a way to disable automatic playback when I don't want my Watch randomly playing audio clips from people.

Siri

Siri will be better in this release, in two ways.

First, the Siri Watch Face will gain heart rate, sports, commute times, and a lot of other options. This is because Apple has opened the face up to third-party developers, who can add their own information. The Siri face also gains Siri Shortcuts, letting you trigger actions from your wrist. These actions change as the day goes along, as this face is designed for. If all goes well, this should put your common triggers right on your Watch when you need them, replacing them with new ones as necessary. You set up these shortcuts on your iPhone, and they sync automatically.

Second, Siri will be listening when you raise your wrist to check your Watch. Rather than having to preface all your commands with "hey Siri", you can now raise your wrist and start speaking to Siri immediately. I'm a bit unsure of this one, as I can see plenty of times Siri would mistake my conversation with others for commands. Still, there are more times it would be very convenient, so I'm looking forward to testing it out.

More Notifications News

As it did in iOS, Apple is revamping notifications on Apple Watch. Not only are they grouped now, but they are "rich". That means you can take actions from them without opening the associated app. You can check in with Yelp, adjust a reservation with Open Table, or do other things based on what the app's developers allow. This should save time, as you don't need to wait for the full app to load just to do some small task. Again, though, this is an app-by-app system, as far as I can tell. That means it will be up to developers to make this happen.

Podcasts and Background Audio

The other feature that has me extremely excited is audio playback. Apple is putting its official Podcasts app on watchOS, letting you listen to podcasts from the Watch. Playback positions are synced via iCloud, meaning that listening to half of a podcast on your walk with your Watch won't matter; your iPhone will pick up where your Watch left off.

Perhaps more exciting is background playback. Apps can play audio in the background, meaning that the app doesn't have to stay open or the Watch activated. My mind went to Audible, who could--in theory--offer a Watch app that would let you play your audio books from your Watch. Other podcast apps, music apps, even navigation apps that offer spoken prompts could all work natively on Apple Watch.

Miscellaneous Changes

Other small changes we know of so far include:

  • WebKit for watchOS, which can show webpages. This is useful for links in messages or emails, for instance.
  • Some universities are supporting Apple Watch as a student ID, using its NFC to authorize what an ID card normally does. I hope this extends to emulating other NFC cards in the future.
  • A new Gay Pride face is available for all Apple Watches, starting today, in the Gallery tab of your iPhone's Watch app. This accompanies the new Gay Pride band that was announced today.

tvOS

Not as much detail was given to us about the upcoming tvOS 12, but we did get some great news for those in certain countries. Let's start with what will be more widely usable, though.

Dolby Atmos support is coming to Apple TV, making it the only streaming set-top box to support Atmos. So Apple said, at least. To support this, iTunes will start getting Atmos content, with upgrades to titles you own being provided freely and automatically, just like with 4K content.

Other notable features include video news coming to Apple TV, and to the TV app on iOS. Apple TV is also getting a new aerial, this one not a flyover of a city but of parts of the Earth as shown from space. Apple mentioned that they are in talks to allow third-party TV remote companies to control Apple TV, though no details were given on that front.

The rest of the updates are region- and provider-specific. From what I understood, Spectrum customers in the United States are getting the Spectrum app later this year. This will provide live channels on the Apple TV, similar to what is available on the same app for iOS. A provider each in France and Switzerland are also going to offer the same thing in their regions.

Spectrum is also supporting what Apple calls "zero sign-on", where simply having Apple TV on a Spectrum local network will be enough to have tvOS silently sign into any app that needs Spectrum credentials to work. Other TV providers are in the works, though no names or timeframes were given.

macOS 10.14 Mojave

The next version of macOS is named Mojave, after the desert. It has a few features, though nothing earth-shaking. Still, some of these are going to be extremely useful.

Desktop and Finder

The desktop has a new trick: it can stack items. If you find your desktop cluttered with in-use files, let macOS stack them. You can choose to stack by kind, date, size, and others. Simply click a stack to see its contents, and quickly scrub through those contents. Honestly, this was a very visual demo, and I didn't quite follow what the presenter was up to. I also didn't understand what was meant by the desktop wallpaper "changing" throughout the day, but apparently it does.

A new view in Finder, called Gallery, is going to make video/photo people happy. It places a sidebar at the edge of the screen, showing as much metadata about the selected file as possible. This is, according to the presentation, great for photos. The new view includes a large window on the top of the screen, showing the content of the file you select. Below that are thumbnails of the other files in the current folder, any one of which can be clicked to have its contents displayed in the window. This window, along with your standard Quick Look, have Markup and other photo editing options, as well as actions, available. Best of all, you can customize those actions, and even make new ones with Automator.

Dark Mode and Screenshots

I'm grouping these two because they both deal with the screen. First up is Dark Mode, which darkens backgrounds, text, and so on to make your content stand out. The presenter said that using this mode for photo/video work is great, as the content being edited is easier to see and there are less distractions. I'll take his word for it.

The second thing here is the new screenshot tool. You can take a shot of the full screen, or part of it, which is nothing new. But now you can easily edit the screenshots you take, mark them up, record only part of your screen, and more. If you use screenshots and/or screen recording a lot, you will probably love this new tool.

Continuity Camera

The term "Continuity" refers to Apple's effort to integrate all its iOS, watchOS, and macOS devices as tightly as possible. Handoff, Mac unlocking with Apple Watch, iCloud syncing, and other features are all under the Continuity umbrella.

Today, Apple introduced a new addition to this set of features, called Continuity Camera. Wherever you can insert an image in macOS (the presenter used a Keynote slide as an example), you can choose to take a picture from your iPhone. This isn't simply choosing an image, though. Instead, your iPhone automatically opens its camera, ready to capture an image. Once taken, that image appears on your Mac, right where you wanted it inserted. This will work with video clips as well.

Privacy

Apple has taken more steps to secure your privacy and security in Mojave. First, they block social sharing buttons that are trying to track you, replacing them with a prompt that lets you choose to show the buttons if you want to. Second, they display a scaled-back version of your data to websites, making it harder for trackers to connect your specific machine to a profile of you. This reduces your so-called "fingerprint" on the internet. These two items are also coming in iOS 12. Third, they are requiring you to okay apps' access to your camera, microphone, sensitive parts of your file system, and other areas, similar to what iOS does.

A Whole New App Store

Apple has redesigned the Mac App Store, just as they did on iOS last year. Video previews, reviews and ratings, new tabs to find content, featured apps, app stories, and more all form a fully overhauled App Store. Apple is hoping this will get people interested in the service again, and to that end, they've secured deals with some big names, such as Microsoft adding Office 365 and Adobe offering Lightroom CC later this year.

HomeKit and Other Apps... and the Future?

Finally, Apple is bringing HomeKit to the Mac. As a heavy HomeKit user, I am very excited about this. The Home app itself will be available, as will Siri control and checking for all HomeKit devices.

Apple is also porting a few other apps to macOS. These include News, Stocks, and Voice Memos. Voice Memos, by the way, gains iCloud syncing, letting you record and manage your memos on any device.

Notice that I said "porting". Apple is undertaking a long-term project to let iOS apps run on macOS, sort of. More specifically, they are making some of their core frameworks work on either operating system, which allows developers to make an iOS app into a Mac app with little effort. It was unclear to me if Apple wants the same binary to run on either platform, or if they just want to ease the transition. Either way, they clearly want to make app creation for the Mac easier, which is great news for users. They hope to release this project to developers next year.

Other Changes

There are a few other changes in 10.14. I'm sure there are a lot more than what I have here, but this is what we got from the keynote.

  • APFS (the new file system introduced in 10.13) now supports Fusion and standard hard drives
  • machine learning training is now far easier and faster
  • group FaceTime calls are coming to the Mac in 10.14

Until Next Year

That was it for WWDC 2018. Personally, I'm most looking forward to Siri Shortcuts, audio playback on watchOS, HomeKit and News on the Mac, and seeing what small--but impactful--changes sneak in that weren't mentioned on stage today. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I know today's keynote wasn't as flashy and exciting as some, and a few of the features are only useful if you can see them. Still, I think Apple gave us a lot to look forward to, particularly if you have an Apple Watch as well as an iOS device, and/or if you're into HomeKit.

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24 Comments

#1 Siri

I was hoping they would talk about fixing siri understanding when someone talks to her. Shortcuts are nice but if siri does not work well what is the point. Siri needs to be fixand restructure to make her work better. If apple want to compete with other AI such as Alexa, Google and Cortana. I am disappointed that just fix her by just making shortcuts.

#2 Well done sir!

Nicely written, very concise, with a Leane towards what we as blind users will benefit from. Thanks mehgcap.

#3 Siri

Same. I barely use Siri because of how bad she is. I often get I can't do that or something like that when I know she should be able to open apps or start playing music. Do that with Cortana, and things work right the first time on my computers.

#4 Not sure

To me, it sounds like iMessages will get even more complicated in an unnecessary way. More buttons and more fun features that may not make it easier to handle it productively. Last year i replaced Podcasts with Downcast. And now I'm finding myself replacing iMessage more and more with Whatsapp and Trema. Reason: just a bit too much...

#5 Refinement over innovation

Hey everyone. Nice piece, thanks for writing it.

It felt very much like nothing new came in here, merely refinements of current concepts, though did think it was totally cool that they'd got ISS to do some arial shots for them...

Siri integration into apps is really very cool too though I'd be interested to see who supports it and what limitations there are developer side. It kinda feels apple is moving away from the, it just works, concept with this one and making something a bit more customisable. I'm not sure if this is a great idea when thinking of my parents. Maybe it's only for power users.

One big disappointment was the lack of a 3rd party development platform for HomePod. It is a superb sound and it plays music seamlessly, but things like, being unable to play BBC radio 3 over here in the UK, is just daft. At the least a music hub should be able to play all radio stations if it is a viable replacement to a music system.

Maybe this will all be covered in the future and I did notice that the Siri shortcuts will also be amiable on HomePod so, in my example of the BBC radio, I could actually create a shortcut, say to my HP "Play bBC radio 3, which will activate the BBC radio player on my phone and then push it to the HomePod... Still, this seems like a convoluted solution for such a simple problem. I guess the HomePod can become an external input device for your iPhone, which, who knows, might actually work out better in the long run. The echo always seemed somewhat messy to me and fiddly to boot.

Just a quick questions... The APFS, is that what is used for time machine? In which case, does this mean that regular hard drives might be used as backup destinations in a network setup?

Still looking forward to September, here's to a new MacBook, a smarter HomePod and the new apple pogo stick.

#6 Finally! Group FaceTime

Finally! Group FaceTime calling! Been waiting for this since about 2014.

#7 Group Facetime

Group Facetime was the only thing I was excited about. Since I hate talking to technology, at least there will be one thing on iOS12 to update.

#8 It's far from over

Club AppleVis Member

Lets not simply assume there's nothing else to keep an ear out for in the rest of the WWDC. I have the WWDC app which lets people view the schedule and listen in on presentations while they happen or once they're posted as videos. The accessibility stuff seems to be later in the week and includes a whole presentation on VoiceOver. It gives me the first real sense of what I'll need to update in the guide I'm working on. Looks like I'll already need to replace all the stuff I wrote about iBooks err... Apple Books. I just hope the whole app redesign is worth for everyone. I'd love to see Apple put up a stiffer fight with Kindle.

I always try to hear the Apple design awards in hopes of learning about new accessible apps. Agenda seems like a nice calendar app which is very close to being accessible. Perhaps, people could encourage its developer. A calculator called Calsy3 sounds a bit complex but potentially useful. Has anybody checked that out for accessibility? How about the iTranslate Converse app? Sadly, none of the games which won design awards sounded like they'd be at all easy to make accessible. Perhaps, next year, we'll be in for more good fun.

#9 Walkytalky

One more thing, I was very excited about the walkitalky , I only wish it was on the iPhone too. I still have no need for an Apple Watch.

#10 Alas, no scheduled updates to dictation.

It really is getting to the point where I hate using dictation, because it usually means that I’m going to spend twice as much time afterwards editing my sentences which is a time-consuming process in and of itself.
Also, I’m not sure about the changes to iBooks, I know some people have had problems using the app but I found it really useful and simple and I hope they don’t compromise functionality for the sake of more Visual elements.

#11 iBooks/apple books and other comments

Hello,
How do people get iBooks to work at all? I have had no luck using it on my iPhone, iPad or my Mac. It seems about useless for me. Once I finally get a book to open I can never find the actual content of the book to read on any of my devices.

I am looking forward to the new Siri abilities on iOS. I just hope they do work on Voiceover on the Mac. It needs a lot of help, especially with web browsing on Safari.

#12 Safari and voiceover

I very much doubt they'll ever fix safari and voiceover. I still get constant "Safari busy" issues on news sites or where sites are busy and I've spent time with support trying to resolve it... But it's been like this for years.

I think it's such a small team working on such things that they are stretched with new products popping up all the time and working out how to make them work for us. Tracking back to fundamental apps probably isn't in their timeline. Which is a huge pain as some sites are utterly unreadable and seize up safari.

#13 WWDC 2018

Hi.
Like you I am also interested to know what SIRI shortcuts has to offer as well as how group facetime will work. Since I use an iPhone 6 S I am curious how IOS 12 will run on it and about group notifications. Happy that Apple is expanding the release of IOS 12 to all devices and not to only the recent models like the 8, 8+, or 10. :)

#14 Using iBooks

Club AppleVis Member

Hello. As it happens, I've been writing a guide to help blind people get more from their iOS devices. Below, I've pasted the complete subsection I wrote about iBooks as it currently stands. I hope you find it useful. By the sounds of things, a lot of this will soon be obsolete and I'll have a bunch to re-write. Hope you find it helpful. If all goes acording to plan, I'll be ready to release my free iOS guide and accompanying lectures by the end of the year. I'm hoping that the folks in charge of Applevis will want to host the guide. There's still a whole lot to do before getting to that point though. It wouldn't surprise me if we saw quite a few VoiceOver changes given the slowdown of work on new features. The accessibility team might be better able to implement changes. Guess we'll see.

## REading in the Walled Garden;
The iBOOKS Bookstore and Reading Haven

Apple tends to favour convenience and simplicity. You see this in all of its stores and apps. Things are as well-crafted and simple as possible from one end of the experience to the other. Using the iBooks app, you are able to purchase and read books including audio books all from within the same app. The interface is very accessible and intuitive. There's no need to have mastered browsing the web or to register accounts with different book vendors. Everything is handled through your Apple ID. For new users, this is especially compelling. Well over a million books are made available on iBooks. Keep in mind, however, that publishing isn't Apple's core business. You may find that the book you want isn't available as an iBook. This is especially true for books which are off the beaten path of best sellers. Also, other book vendors are far more aggressive with pricing and offering bargains. This makes a tremendous difference if you're buying books all the time. There are free books as well as ones you pay for. Like other ebook publishers, there are special sales and offers. However, obtaining a large library of ebooks will cost you more than it would on Amazon Kindle or other venues. You can get audio books as well but they can be gotten more cheeply elsewhere presuming patience and discipline.

There are tabs across the bottom of the screen which, when double-tapped, expose different areas of activity. In this case, from left to right, they are: "My books", "Features", "Top Charts", "Search", and "Purchased". At the top of the screen, there is an action area containing options which change contextually depending on the tab you're in.

### My Books:

In the "My Books" tab where you start initially, you will first encounter a "grid view" button. This toggles between showing your collection as a list or a grid of books. Double-tapping the button will cause it to change to a grid view. I recommend leaving this alone as a list view with books in a sequential line is easier to navigate. Flicking right of that button, you will come to a series of buttons concerning which of your book collections you want to focus on and how to organize them. Tooks in a series will be grouped together. Double-tapping on the series will take you to a list containing only the books in the series.
Features:
In the "features" tab, the action area at the top contains a "category" button and two further buttons allowing you to select between regular books and audio books narrated by human readers. This is a busy area with headings and buttons giving quick access to books being currently featured. Think of it as special displays and sales found in a traditional bookstore. Set the rotor to headings to make navigation faster and easier. Flick up and down to reach different headings. There are more headings than you think. Flick right to move off a heading and flick down to another heading. Flick left and right to explore item by item. There will be books and also buttons giving access to selections of books. The main features page attempts to show as many different things as possible so these buttons give access to more content belonging to a certain collection. Look especially for "see alll" buttons. iBOOKS is full of them. They let you see all of the books in a feature of interest. This lets the "Features" area pack a whole lot more variety in a confined space.

### Top Charts:
This tab lets you look at what books are currently the most popular. There are charts for top paid and free books. Use the "see all" button under the heading to get access to all entries in the top chart you're interested in. Also, note the "categories" button at the top left. It lets you choose a category such as history, reference, science fictionn. You can then look at the paid and free top charts of books in that category. Looking at the various top charts under the "free" heading seems to be the best way of browsing free titles. There must be thousands available but other than using the free top charts, there seems to be no way of restricting your searches to free titles.

### Search:
This lets you search for specific titles or authors. After double-tapping the "search" tab, touch the top left of the screen and flick right. You'll come to an edit field where you can input one or more terms to search for. Double-tap this to indicate your intention to type in that area. Voiceover will say "is editing". A keyboard has now appeared on the screen and you may type text into it. To the left of the space bar, there is a "dictate" button. Double-tap on this and listen for the short beep which lets you know that your devices is listening. Say the book title or author's name you're interested in and then wait or double-tap anywhere on the device to end dictation. When done typing or dictating, use the "search button which appears at the bottom right of the virtual keyboard. Because you're in an edit field, the tabs are not shown. Once you double-tap the "search" button, your device will execute the search.

Instead of enterring and typing anything in the search field, flick right and you'll discover a list of trending searches in the form of buttons. Double-tapping on these will execute the appropriate search as if you had typed it into the field at the top left. It's always good to be able to know what others are looking into.

After executing a search, touch the top left of the screen and flick right. You will soon be flicking over the results of your search. When you find the title of a book that interests you, double-tap on it. This puts you in the book's entry in the store. Think of it like focussing on a book rather than the rest of the store. The book entry will have a description and other information about the book. There will be reviews, ratings, and lots more. To obtain a book, find and double-tap the "get" button or the price of the book if the book isn't free. This price will be a button just like the "get" button. Follow the rest of the purchase procedure to acquire the book. It will then be downloaded into your library.

### Reading iBooks:

To read your book, find and double-tap on the "My Books" tab. Touch the top left of your screen and then flick right until you come to the title of the book. There are buttons to help organise and search through your collection as it gets larger. Books will be automatically organised. If you have books in the same series, they'll be grouped under the series name. Double-tap to go deeper into any group or to open a book.

After double-tapping on a book title, you are placed inside the book. The "library" button found in the top left will take you out of the book and back to your library. While in book-reading mode, the action area at the top left of the screen below the status bar has buttons to help you navigate your book. Flicking right from "library" once gets you to the "table of contents" button. Double-tap this in order to browse through the sections flicking right to scroll through them in order. Double-tap on the section of the book which interests you. Had you kept flicking right, the "search" button would let you search for key words to quickly find areas of particular interest. Once you've selected a section, double-tap on its link to be taken to it. The final button in the action area is the "page bookmark" button. It can be on or off. Flick right once from that and you'll be on your book in the reading area. Using two fingers slightly spaced apart, flick them downward together on the screen to start your book reading continuously. Double-tap anywhere on the screen to pause or resume continuous reading. Using the rotor, you can also read by character, word, line, etc. This can be useful to determine how things are spellt. You can also jump to any notes, headings or links. You can create notes by turning the rotor to "edit" and flicking down to the option. You can also search for words or look up words once you've used the "text selection" rotor setting to highlight them.
Sometimes, you need to find text of a book by feeling around below the top of the screen. Once you find bookstext from the book, flicking downwards with two fingers will start continuous reading. Swiping left or right with three fingers will move to previous and next pages. Books can have pictures and illustrations which aren't always described. Patience and exploring the screen and various options can really pay off.

#15 Very Nice!

For whatever reason I couldn't get the archived presentation to play yesterday. I suppose it didn't help that a neighbor friend and I wanted to hang out on the back deck during the live broadcast. But anyway, what I ended up listening to was Apple's education event that took place here in downtown Chicago. But I'll try and check back for the rebroadcast of this year's WWDC keynote. Having said all that, this sounds good indeed. Having just acquired my first iPhone I'm not that familiar with everything yet, but it's growing on me. Tbh the iPhone is a bit daunting, but I like it nonetheless. Glad to here about the refinement. I, too, am looking forward to the new features of Siri.

#16 WWDC App?

Is this WWDC app mentioned earlier available in the app store, and how much is it? I'd love to try it out some time.

#17 Using iBooks

Hello,
After I open a book in iBooks it is not much like what Michael Feir indicated in his above message. After I open a book I see a button called table of contents / Glossary. When I activate it, it brings up a pop up window with a table of contents button and a glossary button. When I activate the table of contents button there is no table of contents anywhere on the screen that I can find. I do find on part of the screen something called page number thumbnails but this is extremely difficult to navigate. I think it is just the pages for the current chapter of the book you are in but I am not sure. Occasionally I can find a chapter navigation button but if I move past it, it is nearly impossible to find again. The book I am trying to read is one of Apples everyone can learn to code series. If iBooks is this stinking hard to use how can everyone learn to code using Swift>? This is one of the reasons I am skeptical about Apple bringing this to the Blind and visually impaired schools.

Greg Wocher

#18 WWDC app

Yes, it is available in the app store for the low price of free.

#19 I hope...

I do hope that the lack of new features in iOS 12 means that they have focused their attention on fixing bugs and other issues, rather than creating new features with their own set of bugs.

#20 Using iBooks

Club AppleVis Member

Hello Greg. Clearly, we've been looking at different kinds of book. Novels and most non-fiction books aren't laid out this way. Had you tried something like Treasure Island, I think you'd have had an easier time getting the hang of iBooks and would have found my descriptions more applicable. I've never tried to read a coding book before and it's certainly a different experience. You're jumping into the deep end in terms of interactive navigation.

I always want to try and meet people where they're at if possible. Therefore, lets first make certain we're looking at the same book. I've gotten App Development With Swift. It's supposed to take you right from no experience to being able to code an app.

Double-tapping on the book to open it, I am greeted with what turns out to be the table of contents for the book. Flicking right takes me over a bunch of page thumnail pictures. I can double-tap on one to go to that page. However, before doing that, I decided to feel around the screen. The chapter navigation slider can be found in the bottom right corner of the screen. Sliding this up or down will move you back and forth through the chapters. The thumnail pages of that chapter will be put on the screen. This way, sighted people could get very quickly to precisely the chapter and page they wanted with a few swipes and a tap. Like Greg, I found this approach to be unimpressive at first glance. However, it quickly grew on me as I understood how Apple had made it accessible. Most of the time, you aren't dumped straight into a book's table of contents when you first open it.

Once you doubletap on the first thumnail page of the introduction, you'll actually be in the book proper and the guide material I sent earlier will be more applicable to your experience. I can start on the "library" button on the top left and flick right until I come to the "App Development With Swift" title or the text of the book where you're reading. The introduction starts with "Have you ever wanted to"... At this point, flicking right will give you the title of the chapter plus the page number "introduction" being the title and "2" being the page number. Flicking down whith two fingers while on the text of the page will start continuous reading. You can also do three-finger swipes left and right to move page by page through the book as usual. Things are seeming pretty damned accessible to me. I'm an English major though. Not a programmer. I'd love to hear how useful an actual blind programmer finds this book.

Greg, thanks for writing. I've learned something new and my guide will hopefully help others avoid being so thrown for a loop as you and I were by that different style of contents navigation. I hope I've helped you get into the book but think I'll personally stick to Simon Winchester or Stephen King.

#21 Further thoughts on non integration between Mac and iOS

I forgot to mention, I was very happy to hear that they are not combining IOS and Mac, not directly at least. I'd heard rumblings of a new device in a couple of years which might replace a physical keyboard with a touch screen keyboard on a split display sort of thing... A horrid mash up of a Mac and IOS device that would leave us lot severely hampered by a non physical keyboard... This is coming from a copywriter.

What I was very excited about was the development of frameworks for people to port apps to Mac from IOS. Just imagine being able to have your facebook messenger app all neat and there on your Mac, or play one of the choice of games...

Due to the way IOS apps are developed, they have a greater tendency to be accessible, just imagine how wonderful it would be to have access to all those apps that work out of the box on our Macs. Generally desktop apps or conversions of websites to desktop apps have been very poor, nothing more than cut down web browsers.

Anyway, this got me very excited. Hopefully next year they will be releasing the framework to developers.

One thing I would like to come together more between the Mac and IOS is a continuity in voiceover, it should work exactly the same, maybe by pulling IOS apps in, this will go part of the way.

#22 Wwdc disappointed me

For Chinese users, most of the new features introduced by WWDC cannot be used by us.For example,Both iMessage and FACETIME introduce new features, but few friends and colleagues around us use these two apps. Almost everyone in us will only use the WEICHAT app to communicate.
Watch introduced the intercom function sounds great, but our country's communications management department does not allow Facetime Audio to use in the country, so this walkie-talkie function we can not use.At present, it seems that only SIRI's Shortcuts can be used completely, but SIRI's ability to understand the language in the Chinese environment is really bad.

#23 Just Caught WWDC18

Subject line pretty much sums it up. I just listened to this year's WWDC keynote earlier this morning and really enjoyed it. I have found that these presentations are entertaining as well as informative, and this year was no exception. It will be rather interesting for me since I just got my iPhone and haven't yet figured everything out in iOS 11. But iOS 12 sounds like it will be very good. Same with Mac OS Mojave.

#24 I totally agree

Hi I am really disappointed with this. For too long Siri has been really bad. What they should do is get rid of siri and replace it with google assistant. Either make siri equal with the google assistant, or get rid of siri altogether.